I don't remember when I started baking, but for years now I have been in charge of baked goods for all family events: birthdays, anniversaries, holidays... In the beginning I experimented with different cakes, but my family quickly found a favorite, that I have made ever since. I still try new things every now and then, but usually as an addition to the favorite cake.
The favorite cake is called Grillage Torte and is actually a specialty of the region I am from. But I don't remember ever having it growing up -- my mother and my grandmothers never made it. I thought the recipe was interesting and just tried it one day, and especially my father was all over it from the start. It definitely was an instant success!
It is not very complicated to make, it just takes quite a bit of time. But I assure you it's worth it!
The measurements are metric, I've converted them to ounces, maybe once day I'll figure out cups. But for now you'll need a scale.
So here is what you would find my family eat in the afternoon at every get-together:
Whip egg whites and sugar until firm and stiff. Mix confectioner's sugar, corn starch and ground hazelnuts and fold into egg whites. Draw three circles with 10 inches diameter on parchment paper. Distribute egg whites evenly between three circles and bake at 230 degrees for 3 hours. Leave oven door open slightly (I usually prop it open with a wooden spoon) so that the meringues can dry. If you don't have a convection oven, rotate the baking sheets every now and then.
Once the meringues have cooled, melt the chocolate and cover the meringues from all sides. Let the chocolate dry.
Whip cream with sugar (and rum if you like) and use to put the cake together. Also cover the top and the side with cream. Freeze for at least 5 hours or overnight.
Take cake out of the freezer about 30 minutes before serving and decorate as you like.
In the summer I usually use fresh berries, in winter it's mainly chocolate, nuts and more cream. Here are two examples: